As kids we are told not to lie, and that lying is bad and hurtful, and remembering back to my childhood I was very honest about something that happened (somehow my mother’s rosary that her mother had, broke inside my backpack, inside it’s case, on the way to school) and no one believed the honest truth, so it only made sense to lie.
Sometimes honesty is the hard truth about something or a situation or even someone. Sometimes honesty or truthfulness is not what you want to hear, it just is.
We need honesty in a relationship about what you are really feeling, thinking or needing; and most important, honest with yourself. I think about what this honesty means in my own life and many things come to mind.
When you look the word honesty up in Merriam-Webster On-line Dictionary says this for a definition fairness and straightforwardness of conduct; adherence to the facts: sincerity. And beyond the good ole dictionary, the ancient text of the Yoga Sutras state in text 2.36 to act in Satya or Truthfulness or honesty.
So what does that mean?
Good question, I think for starters honesty means something different to everyone based on the lies they have been living. I know you are probably saying WHAT! I’m not living lies, but stop for a moment, have you been truthful with your boss about likes and dislikes about your job, have you been truthful with your partner about your desires, wants and needs? Have you been honesty and openhearted towards the needs, desires and wants within yourself? I know I can honestly answer, no to pretty much all of those questions. For me this is the baseline of my frustration in my own life. There are things that I want to do or stop doing or do more of, but I allow myself to get caught in a pickle about what is the “right thing to do”. A friend told me once that she is trying to cut back on her “little white lies”. You know, the ones that don’t really hurt anyone, but when you add them up KIKES, there is a lot of them!
In yoga we talk about the dualistic mind, and in the Yoga Sutras we are asked to work to eliminate the dualistic mind. Basically there are two kinds of “I-ness”, one is all based on our higher, greater good, the I as the Self as an aspect of God or our Higher Consciousness. And then there is the “I-ness” that is based in the ego, stuck in our worldly desires, and here we are being fooled that what we are doing is for the greater good. It’s like cheating on your partner with someone else, but you have justified why you are doing and how it’s not wrong so many times that you have created a level of fake honesty within that relationship and within yourself.
OK, so I am honest with the people in my life, now that I have said these things, they all hate me and I am out of a job, have no spouse and am friendless? Great, now what? Well let’s dig a bit deeper, within the scope of yoga, we are asked to in addition to being honest (or truthful- Satya) and within this parameter we can ask ourselves this question, is what I am doing or saying helping or hurting? Is what I am engaging in helping at least one person and harming no-one? Unfortunately, for many we not only hurting someone else, but in the end, ourselves as well.
So where am I going with all of this, well hear me out. These are the things that I have noticed in my own life that I would like to share with you with the sole purpose to hopefully help you walk a more truthful path.
1. The truth hurts only if you are not willing to receive it with open ear and a dismantled ego.
2. It’s not what you say but how you say it, I have learned to ask myself am I the forklift or the bulldozer in this situation?
3. Honesty has unfortunately become a thing of the past and for many, honesty has been replaced by fear and that fear has been nursed to become something of a monster ruling our lives dictating what and how we live.
4. We are only kidding ourselves when what we know is wrong we have to reason with ourselves and others to make it sound more right.
5. Few of us want to face our truth, because then we must be accountable for our actions, and if we are accountable for our actions that means we may need to change.
6. The I-ness we all notice within ourselves (which we want to lessen) is fed by our need to be like everyone else, be better than everyone else, to beat or get there first before everyone else.
7. Justification towards our actions, words and behaviors is usually a sign of untruthfulness or dishonesty.
Ok so now what?
1. Take some time and step back or meditate, go for a walk or lay in the tall grass reflect on your attitude towards others then how does that attitude reflect back on to the attitude you have towards yourself?
2. Which kind of I-ness are you currently living in? I-ness based in the ego, fear and worldly desire? Or I-ness based in Higher Consciousness? An I-ness for the greater good?
3. Make a list of all the areas of your life that you are currently not being honest, one list is the relationship with yourself and the other is the relationship external of yourself. Please be mindful not to use this list to throw a pity party for yourself but rather for you to cultivate an awareness of all the little things that manifest into big ones. When I did this and sat to reflect on it, I was blown away by the efforts I was then able to bring forth not just in my recovery but in how I was living and how I was treating myself and others. (Please be aware others may still see you as the person you were before, and that is their baggage not yours).
4. Now write your definition of what truthfulness is to you, and how you see yourself acting out truthfulness and how you would like others to act in truthfulness towards you. Remember you may not like what they say but is it honesty? I ask myself am I acting or reacting.
5. If you are at that point in your life to make amends, write a letter to a person in your life speaking only of truth and honesty, be a forklift but also express that which you need to in order to grow and move forward. As much as we hate being stuck, we like it because then we don’t have to face that which really is.
6. Now write that letter to yourself.
7. Finally, be mindful during your day as to what you are saying, doing and thinking is it based in Staya, in the Higher Consciousness form of I-ness or is it based in ego where you are actually being a bulldozer to yourself and those around you?
When we live in Satya we stop attacking other people as responsible for why we are not happy, we stop living in the I-ness that only leaves us feeling good for a few moments and then drops us on our heads in the gutter of regret, distrust and unhappiness. One of the greatest things (one of many) yoga has taught me is everything is an opportunity to learn-if you allow it. And we can only allow it to be that way if we get out of our own way and take what life is giving us as necessary for that moment and cultivate a willingness to learn from it.